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Posted at 8:05 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Rashard Lewis to debut tonight

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

It has been lost in all of the hysteria surrounding Gilbert Arenas's departure, but the Wizards actually acquired a former all-star player in their deal with the Orlando Magic. Rashard Lewis arrives in town on Monday, will take a physical this morning and is expected to make his debut when the Wizards host the Charlotte Bobcats at Verizon Center.

Lewis becomes the only member of the Wizards who played in the league during the 1990s, and the second player on the roster to enter the league directly out of high school. Aside from the financial savings his contract provides in comparison to Arenas's, the 6-foot-10 Lewis is a 12-year-veteran who is accustomed to winning. He carries a resume that includes two all-star appearances, playing on four 50-win teams, reaching the conference finals twice and the NBA Finals once.

"He comes from a winning environment and we're real pleased to have him on our ball club," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. "We're rebuilding around our young players, rebuilding through the draft. But to be able to do that, you also have to have some veteran leaders and Rashard is one of those players who can lead by example, right along with Kirk [Hinrich] and Josh Howard, of course. We think Rashard is going to be able to help our squad with his versatility, his ability to stretch the defense."

He is also in the fourth year of a six-year, $118-million contract that has long been considered one of the most exorbitant in the league for a player who has averaged more than 21 points just one time in his career. But he is also a 39.1 percent three-point shooter who could provide a stretch forward for No. 1 overall pick John Wall. "We're trying to move on, get everything involved and to add another piece like Rashard, who pick and pop and rebound, a big person that can play two to three positions, the three and the four, I think he'll help us out a lot," Wall said.

His production has declined since helping the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 2009 and he is averaging just 12.2 points this season in Orlando, his worst scoring output since his second year in the league. But the Wizards believe that the 31-year-old has some game left and will be an asset.

"Since [Hedo] Turkoglu left [Orlando], they probably haven't run many plays for him. Two years ago, the guy was an all-star. He hasn't had major injuries or anything else, so I think, in our system, he'll fit in pretty well," Coach Flip Saunders said about Lewis, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Seattle SuperSonics. "He became kind of one dimensional. We want to get him back to the way he was in Seattle. He'd post up smaller threes and when he played the four, he'd stretch the fours out. He became a tough matchup because he had an ability to do a little of both and I hope he'll have an ability to do that."

FROM THE POST
Arenas's divorce from the Wizards was inevitable.

Mike Wise says Arenas's era was defined by errors.

John Wall has a bone bruise under his kneecap.

AROUND THE WEB
ESPN.com's J.A. Adande focuses mostly on Arenas, who will make his debut for the Magic on Monday in Atlanta. Adande questions how much Arenas will be able to contribute to Orlando and concludes, "It all adds up to a lot of uncertainty. Any time you're talking about a situation involving Gilbert Arenas, that's usually the case."

AOL Fanhouse's David Steele bids farewell to Arenas and writes that no one knows what to expect from him as he heads to Orlando.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel writes how Magic general manager Otis Smith takes a gamble on Gilbert Arenas. He also talks to Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, who supports the move.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski writes that Dwight Howard was the force behind Otis Smith's major roster shakeup.

CBSSports' Ken Berger also looks into how the trades Orlando made affect Howard.

Kelly Dwyer from Ball Don't Lie offers his breakdown of the trades that Orlando made.

Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated writes that Orlando could make additional moves.

Arenas sent a farewell to Washington text to Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller on Sunday Night.

By Michael Lee  | December 20, 2010; 8:05 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
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Next: Yi Jianlian on Yao Ming's season-ending foot injury: "I was very upset about it"

Comments

Aaron Miles is doing very well in the D-League. He can assist, protect the ball, steal the ball, and has some history with the Wiz in the summer league. This guy can help.

Posted by: JoeC2 | December 20, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Ted, now that Ernie Grunfeld has completed the task of dismantling his failed 7-year attempt at running his third NBA franchise, it is time to make it his last. Fire Grunfeld and Saunders both and begin the process of truly rebuilding this sad NBA franchise.

Posted by: FireGrunfeld | December 20, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Lewis and the STEROIDS story.. but such a long time ago (2009)haha
********************
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2009-08-07/sports/bianchi_1_dhea-rashard-lewis-steroid
****************
Grunfeld is a master of double talk and we fools are still buying it? Yes fools! we are. This man has made this franchise into a underachieving band of LOSERS!
TLG = Ted LOSE Grunfeld

Posted by: fakedude2 | December 20, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. "We're rebuilding around our young players, rebuilding through the draft. But to be able to do that, you also have to have some veteran leaders and Rashard is one of those players who can lead by example, right along with Kirk [Hinrich] and Josh Howard, of course.

So when Flip starts Wall, Kirk, Howard, Rashard and Armstrong and the young players sit (like the ETaps years) how are the young players supposed to get better?

The problem is Ernie can't draft so it's impossible for this team to rebuild through the draft with him in charge.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 20, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I've become less of an Ernie Grunfeld fan as the years have gone by but you do have to give him credit for being able to clean up his messes pretty well. It was a dream to think that Gil alone was going to bring anything other than a matching salary of decreasing usefulness.

For just general house cleaning of low IQ players, too bad Blatche didn't get sent off as well (infected by pre-season optimism, I said nice things about his extension when it went down. Live and learn.)

BTW: there were some reports that Charlotte had interest in Gil. Anyone know what they might have offered?

Posted by: mugsybol | December 20, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Obviously EG has to talk a bunch of nonsense about a guy we are now paying $60mill over the next few seasons. RLewis is a player the team would not have wanted on a vet minimum deal, the move was about getting rid of Gil and nothing else. But you really can't expect EG to be truthful about that as the dude is being introduced.

Posted by: divi3 | December 20, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

So are we going from a 3-guard offense to a 3-forward offense? Or will Lewis come off the bench? Will Thorton? Will Josh? Will Blatche?

Posted by: tundey | December 20, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I told you.

The Wizards would rue the day they fired Eddie Jordan.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 20, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

When Wall returns, NY should remain in the starting lineup. But the real problem is that now you've got three power forwards who would prefer to float around the perimeter rather than post up their man. What do you do? Put Blatche at the 5 for significant minutes? I suspect Ernie will be trying to move Blatche, Yi and Thorton before the deadline.

I might be crazy, but I think the addition of Howard and Lewis will make this team much more competitive.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 20, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I want to give Lewis a chance, but I don't see how he fits in our offence. Blatche is the PF and as others have pointed out, Lewis cannot guard 3's any longer.

We could trade Blatche, but then there would be an even worse rebounding gap for the team everynight.

Apparently Mike Wise said Arenas and Blatche would be gone by Febuary a few months ago on TV. Should be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by: MeviousMan | December 20, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

So when Flip starts Wall, Kirk, Howard, Rashard and Armstrong and the young players sit (like the ETaps years) how are the young players supposed to get better?

I suspect Dray is a "made man" on this team, he wont lose his starting job nor see his minutes reduced much- though he may play some 5. IMHO, Booker's minutes are gone. And although he'd rather set himself on fire, Flip is almost forced to start Nick at this point. He probably can't actually bring himself to start Nick, but he'll be putting him on the floor 2mins into the game.

Posted by: divi3 | December 20, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

What would any team give up for Blatche right now? Not much. So you move him, then have a team of aging vets taking PT away from recent draft picks. Basically the opposite of rebuilding. Dont see it happening, but who knows.

Posted by: divi3 | December 20, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I love how people think it's some conspiracy theory against Nick Young.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | December 20, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The interesting thing about the Gortat talk is it could have meant trading Blatche and moving Javale to PF, which would have been a very interesting direction for the franchise to take

Posted by: divi3 | December 20, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"He comes from a winning environment and we're real pleased to have him on our ball club," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said.

Ernie, maybe he can teach you something about building a winning environment?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 20, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Ernie pulled the trigger on the ONLY trade that would finally rid us (and him) of Arenas who single-handedly destroyed us the past 3 years. Yes, most of it was unintentional and brought on by unfortunate injury, but Arenas needed to go.

Lewis gives us a stopgap so that we can get rid of Blatche while we wait for Booker to mature. Unlike most posters here, I like Blatche, but I think he's just not part of the long term plan and he's probably not the best influence for the young guys in the locker room.

Posted by: jon_quest | December 20, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Lewis, Blatche, Yi and McGee.

Grunfeld just can't get enough soft bigs. As soon as he gets rid of Jamison, he rushes out to get another soft, overpaid power forward.

If you want to know why the Wizards are a joke, look no farther than the GM.

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 20, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

If we need a backup PG, what's wrong with Lester Hudson? He was in camp, made the team, can come off the bench. I don't think he's playing at the moment. Hopefully he wouldn't play that much in Washington, either.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Supposedly Ernie really wanted Vince Carter's expiring contract, but the Magic wouldn't go for it, preferring to ship that contract to Phoenix along with a couple other contracts, a draft choice, and cash, in return for Jason Richardson's more favorable contract, which they could then trade for an expiring contract , or failing that, an actual basketball player.

Maybe some day we'll see a video game where player contracts face off against other player contracts for an NBA title.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Say, is it true that Rashard has one of those teardrop tattoos under an eye? I've heard Gil has one, too. Allegedly it means the player has murdered at least one professional franchise.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Say, is it true that Rashard has one of those teardrop tattoos under an eye? I've heard Gil has one, too. Allegedly it means the player has murdered at least one professional franchise."

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 10:19 AM

In Lewis's case, it was really more like negligent homicide.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Lewis, Blatche, Yi and McGee. Grunfeld just can't get enough soft bigs. As soon as he gets rid of Jamison, he rushes out to get another soft, overpaid power forward. If you want to know why the Wizards are a joke, look no farther than the GM. Posted by: ahwyatt | December 20, 2010 10:02 AM |

The Wiz are just starting the rebuilding process. Give them a little time. You can't do it all at once.

EG couldn't trade Gil for Amare S., for example. Rashard was the best he could do--and the deal is a long bad contract for a shorter bad contract, not really Gil for Lewis.

Blatche was a second round draft pick, who is still getting back into his spring 2010 shape. Yi was a gift--he came at no cost at all (and NJ may have even paid his salary as I recall). McGee was selected one pick after Hibbert. You don't usually get a rugged, solid center at #18. McGee is a good player for that slot.

The real gains will come. Wall is here. The 2011 lottery could net the big guy or superstar SF we all want. Subsequent drafts will too. So will an early free agent replacement for Lewis' salary slot under the salary cap--much earlier than waiting for Gil's long contract to run out. The pieces are being put in place. But if you want them to be here this year, then yes, EG is a bum by those standards.

EG is the same guy who screwed things up under the former ownership, but he is now being guided by an owner who is able to think a few years ahead to build a winner. I'm down with the new deal.

Posted by: EdDC | December 20, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The only reason Blatche has had a long a leash as he's gotten this season is because Saunders basically had no viable alternative. That's about to change. Blatche'll probably hold onto his spot as long as his play merits it. But if he struggles for an extended period, I have little doubt that Saunders won't hesitate to give Lewis extended run. As for Booker . . . aside from injury fill-ins, he's basically been playing spot/situational minutes anyway, and the situations where his particular specialty (tough, physical play and defense) is required aren't going to change now that Lewis is here. Lewis, Blatche, and Yi are all, essentially, overlapping skill sets. Booker is relatively unique, at least among the Wiz's PF rotation. He's not likely to see any more starts if Blatche is hurt (unless Lewis is also hurt) but he'll still likely get his (limited) chances.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Interesting" is one way to characterize the outcome of moving McGee to PF. I'd probably describe it as a disaster considering he has no ability to guard even slow offensive minded centers. If he was required defend in more open space, his brain would probably burst into flames with the added responsibiltiy.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 20, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"I might be crazy, but I think the addition of Howard and Lewis will make this team much more competitive."

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 20, 2010 9:32 AM

Possibly, but I doubt it'll result in many more wins. I think the biggest plus in the deal is clearly the mental/emotional relief that comes from Arenas leaving. Now no one has to walk on eggshells, dance around the truth, or lie in public in order to accommodate him, all of which people at every level of the organization, from the owner on down, were doing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"If we need a backup PG, what's wrong with Lester Hudson? He was in camp, made the team, can come off the bench. I don't think he's playing at the moment. Hopefully he wouldn't play that much in Washington, either."

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 10:11 AM

That might be a solution if Wall was healthy. But with him out, they need someone who can actually contribute on court in about a 15 mpg role. And there were no signs of Hudson being able to do that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"But with him out, they need someone who can actually contribute on court in about a 15 mpg role. And there were no signs of Hudson being able to do that.Posted by: kalo_rama"

Of course not, but he has the 4th best PER among PGs taken in the second round, and he was the only UT Martin player to receive the OVC Player of the Year award.

So if the Wiz can schedule Murray State, he'll be fine.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Another upshot of all this is that the Wizards are getting bigger. When you're rebuilding you want to start with the bigs because they develop slower. Having a pile of big men to evaluate isn't a bad thing. It's easier to trade a big man who isn't producing for a guard than to try to go the other way.

Yes, Lewis is not worth what he's getting paid, but he'll be valuable as an expiring contract before Arenas would have been. A serviceable big man with playoff experience and an expiring contract sounds like something that would be valuable to the right buyer. A shoot-first, no hops, no defense point guard with a stint in jail and a history of knee problems - not so much.

Posted by: jon_quest | December 20, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Next up Blatche...

Posted by: kevenjones | December 20, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Rashard, Young, and Yi together could be really fun to watch. Similar to Seattle's use of Rashard, Vlad Rad, and Ray Allen during Nate McMillan's last season with the team.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 20, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A crazy idea, but -- what about Javaris Crittenton? He's a 6-6 pg, and could also help out at SG. Can we re-embrace Javaris?

Cedric Jackson is available and in the D-League. He's quick, and can hit a 3 here and there.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 20, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

starting 5 for washington for the next 5 weeks,if wall get back soon are: JM,NY,RL,AB and JM,this will not last long unless JM is getting what every one is telling him.He will be moved to the bench with minimal minutes.AB,RL,JH,NY and JW will start.KH,AT,JM and Booker from the bench.It looks good atleast in paper.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 20, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, Charlotte's coming in so we can see Shaun Livingston. He's averaging a little under 18 minutes, 1.7 assists, 1.2 TOs, 1.6 fouls. Last 3 games he's clocked 15, 15, and 13 minutes per. Allegedly Larry Brown would like to move him. If we picked him up then some of the regulars here could go back to insisting he should be the starter...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"He hasn't had major injuries or anything else, so I think, in our system, he'll fit in pretty well"....are you really going to say that out loud Ernie?!! Watch him get injured 4 games in like josh howard last year. Le curse du les bullez.

Posted by: bbachrac | December 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Josh had been battling injuries for a couple seasons, which is a big reason why Dallas traded him to Washington for Butler. There was always a chance he'd go down last season, and he finally did.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

To bad we cannot see him tonight or any other night since the game is only on
Comcast, and thue we are left out!

Posted by: HLSHAP | December 20, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"......so I think, in our system, he'll fit in pretty well," Coach Flip Saunders said about Lewis. What system would that be, Flip? I've been watching your teams here for over a year now and haven't seen much above playground ball yet.

Posted by: cliffdweller | December 20, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

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